Recent proposals to reform the legal framework governing Serbia’s defence sector are most likely to empower the Military Police, whilst adding layers of opacity to the country’s weapons production and acquisition plans. Shrouded in high doses of nationalism, these reforms – like many initiated by President Vucic – are yet another example of how the ruling elite are further empowering themselves, largely to the detriment of democratic accountability and an open market.
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There are strong indications that the Balkan peninsula is beginning to witness significant environmental, economic and political implications from its exposure to climate change. This analysis is a summary of a more extensive report to be released by Shadow Governance Intel on the impact of climate change on the Balkan countries – now, and future scenarios. In addition to the obvious environmental impact, the biggest concern is whether the fallout from climate change will have a detrimental impact on the political stability of an already-fragile region.
Although the Bulgarian banking system is generally dominated by international banks, a small part remains under the control of indigenous entities, some of which remain open to allegations of questionable practices and associations. There are concerns that the largest of the country’s domestic banks will contribute to wider industry instability if they continue to be regarded as politically exposed, and open to providing politically influenced loans regardless of their commercial viability.
Energy systems play a key role in the global phenomenon of climate change. The lack of modernisation and renewal of these system not only aggravate the effects of climate change, but it also has a direct impact on the population, which is exposed to higher levels of pollution. Governments in the Balkans have arguably neglected to make necessary legal changes to protect the environment, a factor that is ostensibly aggravating the exposure of this region to this global phenomenon.
The tourist sector is a key pillar of Turkey’s economy, as it has contributed approximately 5% of the country’s GDP. Although international investors dominate the most lucrative parts of this sector, they remain vulnerable to the ongoing political decision-making of the ruling elite in Ankara. As a result, Turkey’s tourist sector has felt an impact from decisions such as Turkey’s military intervention in Syria, and the negative diplomatic consequences such actions have created.
The PSD is assessed to be among the most influential actors in state-owned military companies. Not only are there indications that it can influence the appointment of directors, but it has a hand in shaping decisions made throughout the defence sector itself. Although Romania remains somewhat accountable to international defence organisations of which it is a member-state, such as NATO, this has not precluded the amount of influence it has secured over national players.
The fear of losing power and being politically betrayed is motivating President Erdoğan to continue to accumulate influence, now beyond Ankara. After purging key government institutions in the aftermath of the failed 2016 coup, Erdoğan has now set his sites on municipalities, ensuring that loyalty extends beyond the borders of the capital.
Romania has been the target of public allegations suggesting that members of the government have illicitly benefited from EU funds through opaque schemes involving county councils and the Ministry of European Funds. Recent developments have further reinforced these concerns - often driven by the opacity that surrounds the distribution of EU funding.
The ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin is elevating nationalist feelings in Turkey, spurred by its fight against Kurdish armed groups. Behind this rhetoric, President Erdoğan is further legitimising legal reforms; arguably reinforcing his ability to exert influence - and ostensibly control - the country' defence industry. As his fingerprint is established over the defence sector, this industry joins the many others that are being utilised to distribute resources to loyalists.
2018 is expected to be a year of consolidation in Bulgaria's banking sector. New laws and transparency requirements have been implemented in this economic sector, with the hope that these initiatives will reduce allegations of questionable activities associated with the country's banking sector. This is particularly the case with locally owned banks as they seek international investment.
Opacity surrounding how EU agricultural funds are distribiuted in Bulgaria is feeding allegations that state officials in the country’s main agriculture state agency and in the Ministry of Agriculture personally benefit from their position. It is believed that these officials distribute EU funds to loyal landowners in exchange for a de facto kick-back.
Turkey’s banking sector is crucial to the success of the AKP and President Erdogan. Although the sector itself primarily functions independently of government interference; there are growing concerns that it is becoming increasingly exposed to informal mechanisms of political influence. This is a summary of a report available in the Shadow Governance Intel Store, that looks at how political exposure plays out in Turkey’s banks, and assesses the repercussions this can have on the future viability and reputation of the sector going forward.